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2007-12-30 a message from James

To be honest, I think all the heavy touring schedule caught up on me a bit, and all I could do when I did my last little stint in Sligo for the Old Folk was to switch off. And that I did. I switched off my phones, my computer and my mind sort of too...and I walked, and socialised, ate, drank and rested...

Many of you who attended the Dublin concert were too kind to mention that I was most certainly under par, and I apologise for that... it was not my finest hour sadly. But glad to see you enjoyed it anyway... Enough self-deprication now. Thank you ALL for your support and kind words of encouragement.

Huge thanks to EVERYONE for all the wonderful cards and gifts, really far too much. Too many cards and gifts (and donations to Cheryl's Building Fund) to mention. But sincere and heartfelt thanks to you all.

Thanks to the CT Support Team for a great Christmas story and also to Barb (and Heather a little) for the Poem for 2007! You are amazing, really!!

I have still not got Donna's CD in my possesion, but I have heard it and it is amazing. There is some sublime singing on it. Really. And, the title was in fact thought up by a little known regional journalist in fact... He thought that it was her debut album, her first, her 'Prima' album, and given her name is Donna, "Prima - Donna" was too good to pass up, the regional journalist thought!

Thanks to everyone as always for the reviews, great one from Rianne thanks. And then along came Mister Eloquence 2007... John, honestly with your knowledge, eloquence and observant remarks, you could start thinking about being a music critic! Really. Such beautiful writing... Thank you.

A lovely lady, Maeve, sang, as you know, in my fund-raising recital in the summer (along with Grace Foley, Deirdre and others!). She was so moved by the whole Kenyan thing (as was Deirdre, who is considering a trip in the future) that I think Basil noticed that. Then she took on little Kevin Waithaka as a sponsor-son (I have included a picture of Kevin and Joseph in their new clothes with this email). Kevin's story is as incredible as Joseph's. You all know Joseph's from my column? But Kevin basically has no history, no past, he was abandoned on a Kenyan bus at the age of 2 and a half. He was asked his name, but of course could barely speak and just kept saying "Keifu, Keifu..." so they called him Kevin and added a made-up surname also! He is a diligent, grateful, smart and lovely wee fellow. Anyway, Maeve thought about it all after Basil suggested coming and I think she felt she would like to intoxicate the Kenyan orphans with her Irish charm... Don't worry I will warn her of the horrors ahead too...mainly Kibera Slum and its smells etc. She will mainly be painting I think in St Pauls, another one of Basil's ventures. But the children will steal her heart, as they did mine. And she will get to meet and spend time with Kevin! And as a return favour, next Sunday January 6th I am appearing as a guest in HER fund-raising concert in Dalkey Church of Ireland (St Patricks)... you may remember the Celtics did a concert there a year or so ago...acoustic? Be strong Maeve...it will be a trip of a lifetime.

Finally, and I think I deserve it, as our year is so full from the end of January, I have decided to take another little city break... another first for me...never been there before... Hmm...wonder where he is talking about...it is hard to believe that I have never been to this city...as it is one of the most famous... looking forward to 4 lovely days of culture, food, walks and rest in.......

Love and every good wish to each and every one of you, and all the best to you all for 2008!

James.